This year, Leadership will be organizing a new event called Challenge Day, a day-long social and emotional workshop to ignite a shift from isolation towards inclusivity and compassion. Challenge Day is a non-profit organization that helps people learn to connect through powerful, life-changing programs in their schools, businesses, communities and families. Challenge Day is also the name of the organization’s school programs.
Based on student feedback, the students wanted a field day with fun bonding games and activities. Therefore, Leadership head Melissa Perino proposed the idea to host a Challenge Day.
The first Challenge Day will be held on Nov. 16, for which around 50 students from the sophomore, junior and senior classes have submitted an application. However, students can still apply for the future Challenge Days on Dec. 6 and Jan. 30.
This tri-annual program is hosted by carefully-selected experts who have passed thorough qualification processes, and come to schools to lead activities which engage insights and empathy for others. Challenge Day leaders work to create trust by helping participants step out of their comfort zones through bonding activities. They help students focus on creating a better connection with their school community.
Some students believe that Challenge Day will be beneficial to strengthening the relationships within the school’s community.
“I watched the Challenge Day presentation,” said sophomore Riddhi Mehta, “and the things that people were saying were very emotional and empowering, even though they didn’t know each other.”
Senior Jordana Bartfeld, a Challenge Day coordinator, agreed.
“The purpose of Challenge Day is to connect individual students with each other on a deeper level,” she said, “and to allow students to embrace their true self and put precious misconceptions about their classmates behind them.”
Students with different interests who don’t normally spend time together at school have a chance to interact with each other and make new connections.
“I hope to learn how to better communicate my feelings towards other classmates,” said sophomore Srishty Bhavsa, who will be attending the first Challenge Day.
Additionally, some hope that exclusivity and lack of communication are prevalent issues that Challenge Day can resolve.
“There are some friend groups that are very exclusive,” Bhavsar said.
During Challenge Day, participants examine the impact that bullying and other adversities have had on their lives and lives of people in their community. The goal is to find commonality and a sense of belonging.
“Bullying and inclusivity is a problem at Aragon,” Bartfeld said, “and I think Challenge Day will allow students to break down the barrier of stereotypes and realize that they have other classmates who are dealing with difficult things [like] their own issues.”
However, many students are unhappy with the timing of the event. Having Challenge Day coincide with an entire school day may be inconvenient, as students would have to make up missed work.
“School is more valuable than Challenge Day, especially because I’ve already missed a lot of work,” Mehta said. “If it were on a weekend, I would definitely go to Challenge Day.”
Others argue that Challenge Day is more beneficial than a day of school, because it is unique regarding what students learn about.
“I think Challenge Day is a valuable opportunity to have because it does do a better job at connecting students and making them feel more like a community,” Bhavsar said. “Whereas in school, there aren’t a lot of interactive activities which specifically intend [for] different students bonding with each other.”
Bartfeld said, “Challenge day is just full of bonding with own classmates, meeting new people and a day of games activities and discussions that fosters inclusivity in our community.”